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Greetings from Dundalk, County Louth in Ireland

I am on vacation in Ireland, and have extended my stay until October 24th. I am focused on getting the puzzle solved and at least a basic post up each day. It's proving to be difficult to do much more than that due to pressure of time, which I am sure you can understand. Happy puzzling, and slainte!

Bill

0224-13 New York Times Crossword Answers 24 Feb 13, Sunday





QuickLinks:
Solution to today's crossword in the New York Times
Solution to today's SYNDICATED New York Times crossword in all other publications

CROSSWORD SETTER: Joe DiPietro
THEME: I Surrender! … each of today’s themed clues reads “Back down”. Each themed answer is then a phrase meaning “back down” that is written in the grid backwards, with a turn downwards:
22A. Back down : BEAT A HASTY RETREAT
24A. Back down : CAPITULATE
43A. Back down : HEAD FOR THE HILLS
53A. Back down : PULL OUT
65A. Back down : LOSE ONE'S NERVE
82A. Back down : WITHDRAW
90A. Back down : GIVE SOME GROUND
112A. Back down : CRY UNCLE
115A. Back down : WAVE THE WHITE FLAG
COMPLETION TIME: 46m 20s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 … PALTERS (patters), ELIAS (Etias!)

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

6. Best-selling author who served as a nurse in the Civil War : ALCOTT
The author Louisa May Alcott was raised in Massachusetts. She had quite an education and received lessons from Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Margaret Fuller, all of whom were friends of her family. Alcott’s first book was Flower Fables (1849), which he wrote for Ralph Waldo Emerson’s daughter. The Alcott family were part of the Underground Railroad that helped and housed fugitive slaves. During the Civil War, Alcott worked for a while as a nurse in the Union Hospital in Georgetown, D.C. Her most famous novels are unofficially known as the “Little Women” trilogy, namely “Little Women”, “Little Men” and “Jo’s Boys”.

20. Fever cause : MALARIA
Malaria is a disease passed onto humans by mosquitoes. As a result of the disease, a parasite invades human red blood cells and multiplies causing fever and possibly coma or death. Over 750,000 people died from malaria in 2009, out of 225 million cases reported.

27. Card game declaration : MELD
“Meld” is a term used in several card games, including Pinochle, Canasta and Gin. A meld is a set of matching cards that earn points for a player.

28. Show off one's "guns" : FLEX
“Guns” is a slang term for the biceps.

29. Some seen in mirrors? : ARS
There are three letters R (ar) in the words “mirrors”.

33. Humdinger : PIP
A “humdinger” or a “pip” is someone or something outstanding. Humdinger is American slang dating back to the early 1900s, originally used to describe a particularly attractive woman.

38. Mrs. Miniver's husband in "Mrs. Miniver" : CLEM
“Mrs Miniver” is a 1942 movie starring Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon that is based on a 1940 book of the same name by Jan Struther. The book itself is actually a compilation of newspaper columns that Struther wrote for “The Times” of London. The columns were reflections of daily life in the run up to WWII as seen through the eyes of the fictional “Mrs. Miniver”. When the film was completed, President Roosevelt intervened and had it rushed to theaters as he believed it would help convince the American people that the US needed to intervene in the war raging in Europe.

48. Quarters used in Greenland : IGLOO
The Inuit word for "house" is "iglu", which we usually write as "igloo". The Greenlandic (yes, that's a language) word for "house" is very similar: "igdlo".

50. Kegler's org. : PBA
PBA: the Professional Bowlers Association.

A “kegler” is a person who plays ten-pin bowling. “Kegel” is a German word for “bowling pin”.

51. Honeyed drink : MEAD
Mead is a lovely drink, made from fermented honey and water.

54. Detour signalers : PYLONS
Pylon is another word for a traffic cone.

56. The left, informally : LIBS
The concept of left-right politics started in France during the French Revolution. When members of France's National Assembly convened in 1789, supporters of the King sat to the President's right, and supporters of the revolution to the President's left. The political term's "left" and "right" were then coined in the local media and have been used ever since.

58. Parts of galaxies : NEBULAE
In astronomical terms a nebula is a cloud of dust and ionized gases (“nebula” is the Latin for “cloud”). Many nebulae form as gases collapse in on themselves under the influence of enormous gravitational forces. Ultimately these collapses can result in the creation of new stars.

60. Siberian city : OMSK
Omsk is a city in southwest Siberia. It is located over 1400 miles from Moscow and was chosen as the destination for many internal exiles in the mid-1900s. Perhaps the most famous of these exiles was the author Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

61. Jacket decoration : EPAULET
Epaulet (or epaulette) comes from the French, and literally means "little shoulder".

72. Joint committee? : STONERS
Stoner is a slang term for someone who is habitually intoxicated by alcohol or drugs.

77. Talks without sincerity : PALTERS
“To palter” is to talk or act insincerely. The term can also mean “to quibble”, as in negotiating a deal.

86. Pascal's law : LOI
In France, a gendarme (police officer) enforces the loi (law).

Blaise Pascal was an important French mathematician and physicist, who lived in the mid-1600s. In math, his name was given to Pascal's triangle, a triangle of numbers in which each number is the sum of the two numbers above it.

87. Ball partner : ARNAZ
Lucille Ball was at the height of her success while she was married to Desi Arnaz. Lucy had several miscarriages before she gave birth to her first child (Lucie) in 1951, just one month before her fortieth birthday. A year and a half later, while "I Love Lucy" was garnering large audiences, she became pregnant with her second child (Desi, Jr.), a pregnancy that was written into the television show's script. In fact, the day that Lucy gave birth on the show was the same day that she gave birth in real life.

94. Father of Phobos : ARES
The Greek god Ares is often referred to as the Olympian god of warfare, but originally he was regarded as the god of blood-lust and slaughter. Ares united with Aphrodite to create several gods, including Phobos, Deimos and Eros.

95. "Welcome Back, Kotter" guy : VINNIE
“Welcome Back, Kotter” was a sitcom from the late seventies. The title character was a teacher at Buchanan High, one Gabe Kotter who himself had attended the school as a student. Kotter was played by Gabe Kaplan. One of the prominent students in his class Vinnie Barbarino played by a young John Travolta, a role that launched his film career. In recent years you might have seen Gabe Kaplan as co-host of the popular show "High Stakes Poker" on GSN.

97. La ___ Tar Pits : BREA
The La Brea Tar Pits are located right in the heart of the city of Los Angeles. At the site there is a constant flow of tar that seeps up to the surface from underground, a phenomenon that has been around for tens of thousands of years. What is significant is that much of the seeping tar is covered by water. Over many, many centuries animals came to the water to drink and became trapped in the tar as they entered the water to quench their thirsts. The tar then preserved the bones of the dead animals. Today a museum is located right by the Tar Pits, recovering bones and displaying specimens of the animals found there. It's well worth a visit if you are in town …

103. Company making arrangements, for short : FTD
Back in 1910, fifteen florists from around America agreed to fulfill each other's orders using the telegraph system, setting up what they called the Florists' Telegraph Delivery. The concept grew so large that in 1965 the group started to offer international service, and changed its name to Florists' Transworld Delivery (FTD).

105. PBS has a big one : BIRD
The Public Broadcasting System (PBS) was founded in 1970, and is my favorite of the broadcast networks. I love PBS's drama and science shows in particular, and always watch the election results coming in with the NewsHour team. PBS’s Big Bird from “Sesame Street” made a bit of a splash in the last election cycle …

109. Winged : ALAR
"Alar" means "wing-shaped", and comes from the Latin word "alaris" meaning "wing".

111. Big name in '60s peace activism : ONO
John Lennon and Yoko Ono married at the height of the Vietnam War in 1969. The couple decided to use the inevitable publicity surrounding their wedding and honeymoon to promote peace in the world. They honeymooned in the Presidential Suite of the Amsterdam Hilton, inviting the world’s press to join them and to witness their “bed-in”. They spent the week talking about peace, and an end to war. The marriage and bed-in is chronicled by the Beatles in their song “The Ballad of John and Yoko”.

112. Back down : CRY UNCLE
The term “uncle”, meaning “stop, I quit”, is a very North American expression. It has been around since the early 1900s but I couldn't unearth its etymology.

115. Back down : WAVE THE WHITE FLAG
The use of a white flag is recognized as a request for a ceasefire or negotiation. As it is usually the weaker party who wants to initiate negotiation, it is also seen as a sign of surrender.

118. Sheen, in Sheffield : LUSTRE
Sheffield is a city in the north of England, in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Sheffield is famous for its production of steel, for being the setting of the film “The Full Monty” … and for being home to my alma mater, the University of Sheffield!

120. Like some oil refineries : YEMENI
Yemen is located on the Arabian Peninsula, lying just south of Saudi Arabia and west of Oman. Yemen is the only state on the peninsula that is a republic (its official name is the Republic of Yemen). Everyone over the age of 18 gets to vote, but only Muslims can hold elected office.

122. Mark, e.g. : GOSPEL
The Gospel of Mark is the second book of the New Testament in the Bible. According to tradition, the gospel was written by Mark the Evanglist, who was a companion to the apostle Peter.

123. Boxer nicknamed "Hands of Stone" : DURAN
Roberto Durán is a retired professional boxer from Panama. He earned the nickname “Manos de Piedra” (Hands of Stone) during his very successful career. Durán retired in 2001 after being involved in a car crash which required life-saving surgery.

Down
5. Four-time baseball All-Star Jose : REYES
José Reyes plays shortstop for the Toronto Blue jays. Reyes is from the Dominican Republic. He is also a “reggaeton” musician and even owns his own record label called EL7 Music.

7. "Is Your Mama a ___?" (children's book) : LLAMA
“Is Your Mama a Llama?” is a children’s book by Steven Kellogg.

11. It's left on a keyboard : TAB
Like most features on our computer keyboards, the tab key is a hangover from the days of typewriters. When using a typewriter, making entries into a table was very tedious as it involved lots of tapping on the spacebar and backspace key. So, a lever was added to typewriters that allowed the operator to "jump" across the page to positions that could be set by hand. Later this was simplified to a tab key, which could be depressed causing the carriage to jump to the next tab stop in much the same way that the modern tab key works on a computer.

12. Loudly lament : ULULATE
A ululation is a high-pitched trill, a sound usually practiced by women in ritual situations. I came across the practice not too long ago as an expression of celebration at an Arab-American wedding.

13. Dos but not don'ts : NOTES
The solfa syllables are: do, re, mi, fa, sol, la & ti.

14. Mars candy : TWIX
I remember Twix bars from way back in 1967 when they were introduced in the British Isles. Twix bars made it to the US over a decade later, in 1979.

16. Miss ___ : USA
The Miss USA beauty pageant was founded in 1952 in order to select the American candidate for the Miss Universe competition.

32. "The Hostage" playwright, 1958 : BEHAN
Brendan Behan was an Irish writer and playwright. His most famous work is probably "Borstal Boy", an autobiographical novel. Borstal is a term used in the British Isles for juvenile detention. Behan was quite a character, famous for being a heavy drinker ("a drinker with a writing problem", as he described himself). The drink eventually put him in an early grave, at 41 years old. I used to walk to school in Dublin right past the pub where he spent many hours every day.

39. ___ strip : MOBIUS
A Möbius strip is a surface that has only one side. One is easily made by taking a strip of paper and joining the ends together, but with a twist so that it isn't a regular "band".

42. Berry of "Perfect Stranger" : HALLE
The beautiful and talented actress Halle Berry is the only African American woman to win a best Actress Oscar, which she received for her performance in the 2001 movie "Monster's Ball". She also won a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress in 2005 for playing the title role in "Catwoman", and she very graciously accepted the award in person. Good for her!

45. Apologues : FABLES
An apologue is a moral fable, likely to be one which includes characters who are animals.

47. Yahoo : LOUT
Yahoos were brutish creatures introduced by Irish author Jonathan Swift in "Gulliver's Travels". Their savage, slovenly ways gave rise of the use of "yahoo" in English to describe a lout or Neanderthal.

48. Yahoo! had one in 1996: Abbr. : IPO
Jerry Yang and David Filo called their company "Yahoo!" for two reasons. Firstly, a Yahoo is a rude unsophisticated brute from Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels". Secondly, Yahoo stands for "Yet another Hierarchical Officious Oracle".

49. Kind of rat : GYM
"Gym rat" is a slang term for someone who spends all of his or her leisure time playing sports or working out at the gym. I’ve never been called a gym rat ...

57. Actress Berger : SENTA
Senta Berger is an actress from Austria, regarded by many as the leading German-speaking actress over the past few decades.

59. Model material, often : BALSA
Balsa is a very fast growing tree that is native to parts of South America. Even though balsa wood is very soft, it is actually classified as a hardwood, the softest of all the hardwoods (go figure!). Balsa is light and strong, so is commonly used in making model airplanes and rafts. Amazingly, in WWII a full-size British plane, the de Havilland Mosquito, was built largely from balsa and plywood. No wonder they called it "The Wooden Wonder" and "The Timber Terror".

67. Postseason football game played in Mobile, Ala. : SENIOR BOWL
The Senior Bowl is an annual football game played by collegiate footballers who are NFL draft prospects. The players are divided into two teams from the north and south of the country. The game is played in the Ladd Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama.

70. Author Canetti : ELIAS
Novelist Elias Canetti didn't actually settle in England until he was in his thirties. He was a native of Bulgaria, and as a child also lived in England, Austria, Switzerland and Germany. He wrote in German, even though he spent much of his working life in England, eventually adopting British citizenship. Even then, he spent the last twenty years of his life in Switzerland. His book "Crowds and Power" deals with the behavior of people in crowds and mobs, and the effect of vocal leaders on "packs". Scary stuff, I would say ...

71. Silver's is 107.87: Abbr. : AT WT
The Atomic Weight of an element is the mass of one atom of the element, relative to the mass of an atom of carbon (which is assumed to have an atomic weight of 12).

76. Candy since 1927 : PEZ
PEZ is an Austrian brand name for a particular candy sold in a mechanical dispenser. The name PEZ comes from the first, middle and last letters of "Pfefferminz", the German word for "peppermint".

81. Where you gotta go? : LAV
Our word “lavatory” originally referred to a washbasin, and comes from the Latin “lavatorium”, a place for washing. In the 1600s a "lavatory" came to mean a washroom, and in the 1920s a toilet.

84. Actor Silver : RON
Ron Silver has a long career playing relatively small roles on the big screen and television, with roles in well known films like "Mr. Saturday Night", "Ali", and "Garbo Talks". Notably, Silver was the president of Actors' Equity from 1991 to 2000.

92. Quai d'Orsay setting : SEINE
The Quai d’Orsay in Paris is a quay and street along the left bank of the River Seine. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is located there, and the French commonly use “Quai d’Orsay” as a nickname for the Ministry.

99. Procrastinator's response : MANANA
The day after today (hoy) is tomorrow (mañana), in Spanish.

102. Ballet dancer's support : BARRE
A “barre” is a handrail used by ballet dancers for warm-up exercises and to provide support when practicing certain moves.

108. Paul Bunyan, e.g. : MYTH
Paul Bunyan is a giant of American myth, a skilled lumberjack.

112. French key : CLE
“Clé” is the French word for “key”.

114. N.C.A.A.'s Gamecocks : USC
The Gamecocks are the varsity sports teams of the University of South Carolina. The moniker comes from the nickname given to the Revolutionary war hero Thomas Sumter who was from South Carolina. Sumter was known as the “Carolina Gamecock” in view of his fierce fighting style.

116. Prince of Broadway : HAL
Hal Prince is a theater producer and director, and is associated with many, big-name Broadway musicals. The list of Prince’s hit shows seems endless, and includes the likes of “Damn Yankees”, “West Side Story”, “Fiddler on the Roof”, “Cabaret” and “Evita”. Hal Prince holds the record for the most Tony Awards won by any individual: twenty-one.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Drummer's accompanier : FIFER
6. Best-selling author who served as a nurse in the Civil War : ALCOTT
12. Made up : UNTRUE
18. Hardens : INURES
20. Fever cause : MALARIA
21. Most bass : LOWEST
22. Back down : BEAT A HASTY RETREAT
24. Back down : CAPITULATE
25. Sinuous swimmer : EEL
26. Grub : EATS
27. Card game declaration : MELD
28. Show off one's "guns" : FLEX
29. Some seen in mirrors? : ARS
30. Foul mood : SNIT
31. Floor vote : AYE
32. Leaning : BIAS
33. Humdinger : PIP
36. Bakers' measures: Abbr. : TSPS
38. Mrs. Miniver's husband in "Mrs. Miniver" : CLEM
40. Scope : EXTENT
42. Sprinkler conduit : HOSE
43. Back down : HEAD FOR THE HILLS
46. Run out : ELAPSE
48. Quarters used in Greenland : IGLOO
50. Kegler's org. : PBA
51. Honeyed drink : MEAD
53. Back down : PULL OUT
54. Detour signalers : PYLONS
56. The left, informally : LIBS
58. Parts of galaxies : NEBULAE
60. Siberian city : OMSK
61. Jacket decoration : EPAULET
64. Handles receptions, say : CATERS
65. Back down : LOSE ONE'S NERVE
68. Gather in bundles : SHEAVE
72. Joint committee? : STONERS
73. [How dare you?!] : SLAP!
77. Talks without sincerity : PALTERS
79. Envelope abbr. : ATTN
80. Like some firs : ALPINE
82. Back down : WITHDRAW
83. Variety : SORT
86. Pascal's law : LOI
87. Ball partner : ARNAZ
88. Downgrade, perhaps : RERATE
90. Back down : GIVE SOME GROUND
94. Father of Phobos : ARES
95. "Welcome Back, Kotter" guy : VINNIE
97. La ___ Tar Pits : BREA
98. Treasures : GEMS
101. Made one : WED
102. Tough situation : BIND
103. Company making arrangements, for short : FTD
105. PBS has a big one : BIRD
107. When repeated, eager : RAH
108. Staffs : MANS
109. Winged : ALAR
110. "I'm ___ you!" : ONTO
111. Big name in '60s peace activism : ONO
112. Back down : CRY UNCLE
115. Back down : WAVE THE WHITE FLAG
118. Sheen, in Sheffield : LUSTRE
119. Advent : ARRIVAL
120. Like some oil refineries : YEMENI
121. Clearly marks : ETCHES
122. Mark, e.g. : GOSPEL
123. Boxer nicknamed "Hands of Stone" : DURAN

Down
1. Try to shoot : FIRE AT
2. Lays to rest : INTERS
3. Slick ones? : FUEL SPILLS
4. Go wrong : ERR
5. Four-time baseball All-Star Jose : REYES
6. Itch scratcher's utterance : AAH
7. "Is Your Mama a ___?" (children's book) : LLAMA
8. Capable of seeing in the dark : CAT-EYED
9. Certain grilling : ORAL EXAM
10. One to one, for example : TIED
11. It's left on a keyboard : TAB
12. Loudly lament : ULULATE
13. Dos but not don'ts : NOTES
14. Mars candy : TWIX
15. Good name, informally : REP
16. Miss ___ : USA
17. Common abbr. after a comma : ETC
19. Cut off : STANCH
20. What's the big idea? : MASTER PLAN?
23. Circus support : STILT
28. Vertical stabilizer : FIN
32. "The Hostage" playwright, 1958 : BEHAN
33. Blooming tree : POPLAR
34. Publishes : ISSUES
35. Slightest complaint : PEEP
37. Lost, as a tail : SHOOK
39. ___ strip : MOBIUS
41. Rounds begin on the first one : TEE
42. Berry of "Perfect Stranger" : HALLE
44. Ages : EON
45. Apologues : FABLES
47. Yahoo : LOUT
48. Yahoo! had one in 1996: Abbr. : IPO
49. Kind of rat : GYM
52. Inside look? : DECOR
55. Dish out : SERVE
57. Actress Berger : SENTA
59. Model material, often : BALSA
62. Pressure group? : PEERS
63. Play a flute : TOOTLE
66. Lay to rest : ENTOMB
67. Postseason football game played in Mobile, Ala. : SENIOR BOWL
68. World : SPHERE
69. Extreme aversion : HATRED
70. Author Canetti : ELIAS
71. Silver's is 107.87: Abbr. : AT WT
73. Garnish, possibly : SPRIG
74. Keep at awhile : LINGER OVER
75. Got ___ on (nailed) : AN A
76. Candy since 1927 : PEZ
78. Healthy : SOUND
81. Where you gotta go? : LAV
82. Take a card : DRAW
84. Actor Silver : RON
85. Frivolous types : TRIFLERS
89. Demonstrates : EVINCES
91. Be rewarded for good service : GET A TIP
92. Quai d'Orsay setting : SEINE
93. Coarse : EARTHY
96. Entrances : INS
99. Procrastinator's response : MANANA
100. Welcome through the door : SHOW IN
102. Ballet dancer's support : BARRE
104. A disk can be slipped in one : DRIVE
106. Was a little too fond : DOTED
108. Paul Bunyan, e.g. : MYTH
109. Do with a pick, maybe : AFRO
112. French key : CLE
113. Crackpot : NUT
114. N.C.A.A.'s Gamecocks : USC
115. Not keep up : LAG
116. Prince of Broadway : HAL
117. Native of Australia : EMU

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3 comments :

JaJaJoe said...

As usual, WEB, you say naught about clues / answers most curious to us; e.g., AAH for 6Down: "Itch scratcher's utterance". 'Seems such would be by an "Itch scratchEE".-/

Bill Butler said...

Hi there, Joe.

Sadly I don't have the time to comment on each and every clue, especially in a Sunday puzzle. I do seem to skip the wrong ones though!

I see where you're coming from with regard to scratcher and scratchee, but I read the clue to be someone scratching an itch on their own body, making them both the scratcher and the scratchee as it were. So, someone scratching an itch on his/her body might utter a relieved "Aah!"

Anonymous said...

THIS IS THE WORST PUZZLE I HAVE EVER ENCOUNTERED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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This is the simplest of blogs.

I do the New York Times puzzle online every evening, the night before it is published in the paper. Then, I "Google & Wiki" the references that puzzle me, or that I find of interest. I post my findings, along with the solution, as soon as I am done, usually well before the newsprint version becomes available.

About Me

The name's William Ernest Butler, but please call me Bill. I grew up in Ireland, but now live out here in the San Francisco Bay Area. I am retired, from technology businesses that took our family all over the world.

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Crosswords and My Dad

I worked on my first crossword puzzle when I was about 6-years-old, sitting on my Dad's knee. He let me "help" him with his puzzle almost every day as I was growing up. Over the years, Dad passed on to me his addiction to crosswords. Now in my early 50s, I work on my Irish Times and New York Times puzzles every day. I'm no longer sitting on my Dad's knee, but I feel that he is there with me, looking over my shoulder.

This blog is dedicated to my Dad, who passed away at the beginning of this month.

Bill
January 29, 2009

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